De Tomaso Longchamp

De Tomaso Longchamp

The De Tomaso Longchamp is after the Pantera the most durable model of Italian automobile manufacturer De Tomaso in Modena. It formed a sports coupe that should appeal to wider groups of buyers and ensure the continued survival of the brand. It is technically related to the Maserati Kyalami.

The concept

The initiative for the Longchamp went back to a large extent on the American Ford Motor Company, with the de Tomaso was already with regard to the production and distribution of the volume model Pantera in contractual relationships. The former strongman at Ford, Lee Iacocca had in 1969 expressed during a brief meeting with Alejandro de Tomaso admiration for European design and considered in addition to sports cars Pantera and a closed Gran Turismo penned by de Tomaso in the official importer to take over. Alejandro de Tomaso, who saw it as an opportunity to expand the range of models of his company and at the same time round, then began the development of Longchamp.

The concept of de Tomaso Longchamp was by itself These included specific ideas about the layout of the requirement to take as many components from the already developed models sister Pantera and Deauville. Accordingly, designed by Giampaolo Dallara chassis of the sedan Deauville was also used for the Longchamp; However, it was shortened to 18 inches. On this floor group of American designer Tom Tjaarda, who was then the only designer Carrozzeria Ghia studio designed, a four-seater body, which had classical proportions. For cost reasons, many technical components have been adopted by large-volume producers: The steering column, for example, was a re-worked from the Lincoln Continental, the power steering was from Cam Gears. The differential came from Salisbury, the rear axle copied de Tomaso engineers from Jaguar XJ6. The engine was - as in Pantera - a Canadian Ford Cleveland eight-cylinder with 5.8 liters ( 5769 cc ) of displacement. The C-6 Cruise -O -Matic automatic transmission also came from Ford; in a total of 17 cars a five -speed transmission from ZF has been installed.

Also various add-on parts came from other manufacturers. The headlights were about components which were first used in the European Ford Granada. The tail lights came from the Alfa Romeo 1750 /2000. All in all, the 1.8 -ton car was more than designed for comfort for sportiness. The approach corresponded to an impressive standard equipment with power windows, air conditioning and leather interior.

As usual, de Tomaso built the Longchamps not complete itself The bodyshell was first built at Ghia, before she was sent to final production to De Tomaso in Modena. After the rupture of relations with Ford commissioned de Tomaso other body works with the production of Longchamp. From 1979, the body shells were prepared at Embo in Turin. There also the nearly identical Maserati Kyalami was born.

The prototype

1973, the prototype of Longchamp at the Golden Car Company in Caramagna Piemonte was completed. The car presented shortly afterwards received the name Longchamp, named after the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris. In the first tests, it convinced the journalists with healthy performance (240 km / h) and a successful landing gear, which was considered to be equivalent to that of the Mercedes SL and its near- relatives 450 SLC. However, no review forgot to mention the humble origins of the American engine.

The first series

In 1973 the production of the first series began. While the prototype ( the only copy ) received a 1000 chassis number, the vehicles of the first series wore 2000s numbers. The first series of Longchamp was produced until 1979. Contrary to initial expectations, Ford decided soon after the presentation, not the factory to import the Longchamp in the United States. Possibly this was due to the substantial lack of quality with which the American Lincoln - Mercury dealers had to contend with the Panteras. In any case, this decision led to the production of Longchamp fell far short of the initial objectives. Although several Longchamps were introduced in the USA, these imports were based on but de Tomaso itself or on independent importers.

As de Tomaso took over Maserati 1975, he saw an opportunity to increase the dissemination of Longchamp design. He left about working at Pietro Frua at short notice the design of Longchamp. Together with single headlights, taillights own from the Citroen SM and Maserati eight-cylinder very quickly come into the twin brother of Longchamp, which was called Maserati Kyalami. The Kyalami was not a success. The clearly visible close to De Tomaso Longchamp and his Maserati ratios inelegant body stood against his better paragraphs.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport tested a 1978 delivered to Germany Longchamp with manual transmission. In issue 10/ 1978, the report " half- blood " who praised the one hand, the performance, the understated and the outer space of the coupe, but on the other hand also criticized shortcomings as useless wipers, poor operation and negligent processing appeared. Overall, the car was more marked by improvisation as of perfection.

The second series

From 1979, the Longchamp was built in a second series, were awarded for the 3000 chassis numbers. It was recorded some smaller changes. In technical terms, the position of the engine has been modified, revised the front axle and installed a steering gear for a better turning radius. The interior has now received seats with attached headrest. Instead of the slider to adjust the heating control now got three rotary switches, all of which were provided with the De Tomaso logo. From the end of 1979 much wider plastic bumpers were used. Starting in 1982, the cars were the headlights of the Audi 80; on request also four rectangular twin headlamps and body-color bumpers were available later. In 1982 the interior was adapted to the opulent style of contemporary Maseratis: The dashboard was covered with real wood, and the interior parts of the doors were covered with gathered leather.

From 1979, a GTS version was available with a decidedly sporty appearance. The first GTS version was delivered November 1979. She had hand -driven fender flares made ​​of steel and an electric sunroof. She carried the chassis number # 3059th The body work was done by Carrozzeria Campana in Modena. Later, the fender flares were made of fiberglass.

The last Longchamp was established in 1986, however, the sale lasted until 1988. According to factory specifications total of 414 Longchamps, the vast majority of these were developed in series 1 configuration. A successor did not exist.

De Tomaso Longchamp Spyder

In 1981, as a further body variant added a convertible with the name Spyder. The vehicle was based on a study that Pietro Frua was developed in 1978 for the Maserati Kyalami. During the Kyalami Spyder remained a single piece, the open version of Longchamp was born in a small series. Work on this was de Tomaso perform at Carrozzeria Pavesi in Milan, who had already built some Targa versions of the Pantera. A total of 14 working convertibles, whose silver prototype was effective in advertising driven into the Adriano Celentano - movie The tamed shrew of Ornella Muti by the Italian landscape emerged. Pavesi and other coachbuilders upgraded next several older coupe later in convertibles around.


Although the factory a number of ways was to individualize the Longchamp even single independent tuners involved with the car. The most famous was the company Jehle in Schaan, Liechtenstein, not just sales automotive body parts and wanted to drive the motor power, among other means turbo or biturbo structures up to 1000 hp, but also the environmental impact of Longchamp by the installation of catalytic converters increased wanted. However, these offers were only announcements. There is no Longchamp has been delivered with such modifications worldwide.